I love the story of Joseph. It may be my favorite Bible story. It helps that there's a musical of it. Have I mentioned I love Broadway? I'm still working my way through Genesis in my daily reading, but now that I'm at the story of Joseph, I even want to read extra each day because I love the story so much. Imagine that!
What is truly fascinating about the story of Joseph isn't all the bad stuff that happens to him. It's not all the good stuff that happens to him. It's the way he relates to God and the hindsight he has when it comes to his life as a whole. His brothers sold him as a slave to a foreign land. He got into a good place and then was thrown into prison for several years. Then he got into a good place again—always giving God the glory. When he encountered his baddie brothers again, he didn't say, "You jerkfaces! Go starve!" He said, "God put me here to save all these people. You didn't know what you were doing, but God did."
That's amazing. To look back over what happened to him and say, "God had a plan that whole time." I love that. I love to look back over my life and see the plans God had all along.
I've mentioned before that my mom died when I was young—I was three. My dad poured concrete and worked very long days, and the only preschool he could find that had hours that long was at a Christian church. When it was time for me to start grade school, the church opened a school with kindergarten through fourth grade. When I was about to outgrow that, the school expanded to eighth grade. I went there through sixth grade. I learned about God and gave my life to Jesus. I had wonderful, encouraging teachers (some of whom I've been able to reconnect with through the magic of Facebook!), and my education was outstanding in every way.
A few years after I left, I heard from some family friends that the school closed. I don't know why. It may or may not be open again—I have no idea. But looking back, it's almost as if God built that school just for me. I learned about him. I had teachers who gave me attention and encouragement I wasn't getting anywhere else. I wonder what my life would look like if I hadn't been introduced to God in that environment and if I hadn't had such attentive teachers.
Going back a little bit further, I wonder how my life would be different if my mom hadn't passed away. I think about her daily and wonder what she was like and what our relationship would have been like. But I'm sure my life would be entirely different had she been a part of it longer.
I see God in every moment of my life. Even the times that I wasn't paying attention to him, he was paying attention to me. The times that I felt so lonely, he was right there with me. Everything that's happened in my life has had God's hand on it, and it's brought me to the wonderful life I have now. The wonderful family and friends I have now.
It's become such a cliché to say, "God's got a plan." It sounds trite, and it sounds like a panacea of sorts. Sometimes it's hard to understand why things happen to us or how God plans to use those things until we're well on the other side of whatever it is. God's ultimate plan for us is eternity with him, but he's definitely working with us here and now. It was evident in Joseph's life. It's been evident in mine.
How has it been evident in yours?